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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2000 May;174(5):1455-60.

Effectiveness and safety of balloon dilation of the papilla and the use of an occlusion balloon for clearance of bile duct calculi.

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Department of Radiology, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Spain.



The purpose of this study was to describe a technique for percutaneous bile duct stone clearance by pushing the stones into the small bowel after balloon dilation of the papilla.


During a 2-year period, 38 patients were treated percutaneously for stones in the biliary tree. Twenty-one patients were treated through a T tube or transcystic tract. Seventeen patients were treated through a transhepatic tract. Twenty-three patients had one stone each. Eight patients had two stones, and seven patients had three or more calculi. Stone size ranged from 3 to 16 mm in diameter (mean size, 6.7 nm). Balloon diameter based on the transverse diameter of the stones ranged from 7 to 18 mm (mean, 6.7 mm). An 11.5-mm occlusion balloon was used for pushing the stones through a 7- to 9-French vascular introducer. A catheter was left in the common bile duct from 1 to 6 days for external drainage.


The technique was successfully used for clearance of stones in 36 (94.7%) of the 38 patients. With 29 patients, the procedure was performed with only one attempt. Two attempts were necessary for five patients, and three attempts were necessary for four patients. Two major complications were cholangitis and biliary pleural effusion. No deaths were related to the procedure.


Percutaneous bile duct stone clearance by dilation of the papilla and evacuation of the stones in an antegrade fashion with an occlusion balloon is a safe and effective technique. It can be an alternative to basketing stones in selected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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